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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Disease

Related Articles: Marine Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate identification, Marine Invertebrate Selection, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Water Flow, How Much is Enough

Related FAQs: Marine Invert.s 1, Marine Invert.s 2, Marine Invert.s 3, Marine Plankton

 A Fungia and Halomitra.

Inverts dying; no rdg.       2/17/14
Hello. I am new to your site.  All of my inverts keep dying.
<? Something awry here; water quality wise>
 The tank has been established for 4 months.  Water salinity is 1.025, ammonia is 0, cal 340ph

 8.2, nitrate and nitrite 0 phosphate .25.My dKH is very high 12.  I use distilled water. 
<For what? I would NOT do this... expensive and has its own issues.... l
ook into buying an RO device... Read here:
Scroll down to water>
I have lost peppermint shrimp, skunk shrimp, fire shrimp, sand sifting sea stars and a chocolate chip star fish.  Other than the dKH what could be wrong?
<Many possibilities... metals, biological/toxicity from other livestock...>
 How do I lower dKH
<Dilution, not adding carbonates, adding more alkaline earths
. READ here:
and the linked files above.>
 and how do I check for magnesium? 
<... ludicrous... Please learn to/use the search tool (on every page) or the indices. With a test kit>
Thanks in advance
<WWM is NOT a bb, but a reference system. Bob Fenner>

Paralyzed invertebrates 11/16/11
Good morning to the WWM crew.
I have a 125 gal mixed reef tank that has been experiencing something odd for the past three days. All of my Astrea snails appear to be paralyzed.
They are still alive, as when I touch them the foot withdraws, but they have all fallen to the bottom of the tank and they just lay where they fell. Additionally, my 3 brittle stars also seem to be close to paralyzed with just slight movement. Normally after lights out they are real travelers. Also, perhaps related, the fire shrimp died yesterday and my 10 blue leg hermits, who normally scurry around are not to be found. However, now they barely come out from under there rocks. All of these invertebrates have been in the tank for over two years.
The tank has been up and running for three years. Recent changes include moving to DD Ocean salt from Kent salt for my water changes.
<Mmm... this is as far as I'm aware, a good, consistent product... But the change might well have triggered (my fave term coming) a "cascade event" with/by something in the system... bacterial, Protist on up... perhaps Cnidarian... that is poisoning your invert.s>
I have done the last two monthly water changes using 1/4 DD salt followed by 2/3 DD salt. The other change was the removal of over large Toad Stool leather and several off spring.
<Ahh! Again, the bio-chemical, make that biological AND chemical dynamic/mix in your system is/was likely upset w/ the Sarcophyton move...
Something/one else is duking it out for dominance here... Look carefully at your other stinging-celled life. Oh and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
They went to the LFS for credit. They had been on the tank for at least two years.
<And the linked files above... there are a few things one can do to alleviate the ill-effects of in-place allelopathy. I'd be doing what is archived... and soon. Bob Fenner>
Paralyzed invertebrates 11/16/11

Apologies, the previous email got sent before it was complete or proof read, please replace it with this one.
<Will post both>
Good morning to the WWM crew. I have a 125 gal mixed reef tank that has been experiencing something odd for the past three days. All of my Astrea snails appear to be paralyzed. They are still alive, as when I touch them the foot withdraws, but they have all fallen to the bottom of the tank and they just lay where they fell. Additionally, my 3 brittle stars also seem to be close to paralyzed with just slight movement. Normally after lights out they are real travelers. However, now they barely come out from under there rocks. Also, perhaps related, the fire shrimp died yesterday and my 10 blue leg hermits, who normally scurry around are not to be found. All of these invertebrates have been in the tank for over two years. The tank has been up and running for three years. Recent changes include moving to DD Ocean salt from Kent salt for my water changes. I have done the last two monthly water changes using 1/4 DD salt followed by 2/3 DD salt. The other change was the removal of a large Toad Stool leather and several off spring. They went to the LFS for credit. They had been in the tank for at least two years. No new inhabitant have been added in the last 6 months.
My parameters all appear to be normal for my tank with the exception of all which is normally at 8.5dkh and for some as yet unexplained reason is now at 11.7,
<Yikes! This could be the single cause of your invert.s distress. I'd be diluting...>
will recheck after obtaining a different test kit. CA 390, Ph 8.3, NO3 0, PO4 0, SG 1.025, Temp 77.5 - 78.8. I run GAC
and a Skimmer and have a refugium. Dosing is Kalk in my top off water and normally baking soda in r/o water is dosed about 1 cup in 1 gallon of water per week using a dosing pump. It is turned off now until I figure out my alkalinity.
Any ideas?
<Well... the new salt/D and D most likely, and/or an Interaction w/ the Kent product... Mix up a test batch and measure>
Thanks, Michael
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

chances of (LR HHs) survivability?  04/21/11
Hey crew,
Just this morning I went to my local LFS to buy a new heater (after the last one exploded...nicked me with a shard of glass) and decided to get a bit of live rock.
Since the clerk felt bad for the heater exploding (and I'm certain I didn't leave it out of the water before you ask) he gave me a 5 pound piece for free.
<good customer service>
I thought it just had some coralline and tube worms, but upon bringing it home to help cycle the new 24g (it has been going 2 weeks with just live sand at this point) I noticed feather dusters, blue snowflake Anthelia (the most accepted classification is escaping me) and possibly a very small fragment of Heliopora.
<That's good live rock.>
Is there any chance any of these could survive a cycle?

<Some of it, sure>
Would performing water changes help them stick around through it?
<Yes. More water changes might delay the "cycling" process a bit, but it will also help these things survive.>
At this point they seem very healthy, fully extended, but I don't know what will happen when ammonia spikes (currently 0 ppm, but certainly to change).
I don't really want to place the rock back in the old tank, because I really don't want to transfer those bristle worms over.
<Why not? Bristle worms are actually quite beneficial and, contrary to persisting rumors, by-and-large, they do not harm corals.>
If this is a lost cause, please tell me, but if there's any chance of the corals/dusters remaining alive any advice would help.
<If you already have an established system, the best bet is to put the live rock in there until the new system is cycled. However, the critters might still survive in the new tank if you do frequent water changes.>
Loving the site,
Sam Sutonovski
Sara M/L.>

Invertebrates dying, Sm. SW, likely salt mix issue    8/26/10
Hi WWM Crew!
I have a small saltwater acrylic tank (3gallons - I know, very small, but I got it for free from a friend and have already ordered a 12gallon replacement tank) that has two fish (a false Percula and a green clown goby), both of which seem to be doing fine.
<Very hard... near impossible to keep such fishes in such a small/unstable volume as this for very long/well>
I have about 2lbs of live rock and some fancy algae (curly brittle green stuff that just sits between two rocks). My water parameters are all fine: pH 8, alkalinity 10dKH, NO2 0ppm, NO3 ~20ppm (a little high for the tank, but two hermit crabs and a snail just died), temp between 78 and 82F, and Spg is 1.023. I did just do a water change yesterday, but checked the parameters before adding it and it seemed fine (similar values compared to the current in the tank besides the temp, which would have been lower, maybe 76).
<... such new water must need be pre-prepared... mixed and matched with a week or so of sitting about>
When I came in this morning (my tank is at my work desk), both of my hermit crabs were dead and my turbo snail is at the bottom (he's usually cruising around the top of the tank or on the rock) almost like he doesn't have the energy to haul the shell off the sand. I've had all of them for about 2 weeks now, so I'm not sure why they would die other than the water change.
It was rather large (about 30%, as opposed to the usual 10%), but I didn't think that would be a bad thing as long as the water parameters were similar.
<For what you did and can measure...>
And the fish are still fine, swimming and eating normally. Is there something I'm missing in regards to invertebrates?
<Could well be>
In the past I've also had two other hermit crabs and two peppermint shrimp die, though usually within a few days of purchase and I don't think I acclimated them slowly enough (my LFS said 15min of resting the bag in the tank would be enough. read your site and of course they were wrong). I just want to get the invert thing down so I can have a proper clean-up crew and also (slightly - I know 12 gallons can't hold too much) expand my collection without fear of killing them.
Thank you for any advice!
<Mmm, maybe read here:
scroll down to Water, Salt Issues. Bob Fenner> 

This close to giving up.... Mysterious invert death in SW Tank Suspect Allelopathy or Heavy Metal Poisoning.    8/7/10

<Hi Jeff.>
Despite a dedicated effort, I can't figure out what's wrong with my tank.

<You've come to the right place.>
For a few months now, I've been battling Cyano.

<Not at all uncommon.>
I've cut my feedings, done more frequent water changes, and tested everything I can think of. I've lost 2 fish, several crabs and snails over the same period. I've been conscientious in siphoning the Cyano during water changes.

<You may want to tray adding some Polyfilter and some granular ferric oxide\hydroxide so soak up any stray phosphates.>
After tweaking magnesium, alkalinity, and calcium over the last week, I figured I had everything perfect so I started to rebuild a clean-up crew. Tonight I added 6 Trochus snails and a turbo. I acclimated all new specimens for 30 minutes. Within 4 hours everything appears to be dead or dying.

<Something seriously amiss.>
I'm completely frustrated and at a loss to explain. Its as if something poisonous is in my tank that I can't detect.

<How about copper? Any pesticides used in the room lately? >
*Tests* Ammonia = 0 Nitrate = 0 Nitrite = 0 Phosphate = 0 Calcium = 420 Alkalinity = 8dKH pH = 8.2 Specific Gravity = 1.024 Magnesium = 1350 Temp = 78-80

<All looks good here. Do realize though that zero readings indicate there is none in the water, what is being produced is being consumed.>
I skim with a AquaC EV-180 and run my lights about 12 hours/day.

<May want to turn this down to 8 - 10 hours for a while and see if things improve. Also, how old are your bulbs - old bulbs can contribute to cyanobacteria. When I get outbreaks, I usually stir up the substrate and leave the lights off for a day or two>
I run two modified Tunze Nanostreams 6025 for flow in the tank.

<Any other filtration?>
*Stock* One Percula clown 2 Chromis 1 small yellow tang 2 zebra hermits 1 scarlet hermit 1 Nassarius snail 2 Monti caps (dying away) some Zoas (losing polyps) What is wrong?!?!?!?!?

<You may want to try running activated carbon in your filtration system to rule out any allelopathy caused by your corals (Some Zoas and Palys can be pretty toxic). Further, I would run some PolyFilter in your system as well and see what color it turns. based upon your description, it almost seems as though there is copper in your tank - copper will kill inverts quickly. Did you get any rocks or water from any other source, or use any medications that may have contained copper, any 'red slime' medications?>
Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated!

<Try carbon and Polyfilters for a few weeks and see if things improve..>
Thanks for letting me vent! Jeff


Sudden deaths/algae outbreak   3/6/10
Dear Crew
I have some serious problem(s) with my tank. All my shrimps and hermit crabs have died. I started testing for everything(or so I thought) but everything checked out fine except for nitrates, I didn`t actually detect anything in the tank, but my R/O water showed a concentration of 5ppm.
<...? TDS? NO3?>
I am going to replace the R/O unit ( Got a new one yesterday). But in the tank zip!!
<What does this mean? I.e. that you have no life? No NO3?>
Guess all the algae I have, is absorbing the nitrate? I tried to add a hermit and a shrimp but they died within a week. (all this has happened over the last couple of months, sorry should have contacted you before, but tried to handle it myself) But for some reason I failed to check the DKH, big mistake. It has a reading of 25!!.
<Yikes! From supplementing?>
Could this have caused it?
<...? What is it? The loss of your invertebrates? Yes>
At the same time I tested my Tap water(20) and my R/O water to 3.5. The fish by the way seem unaffected.
Hope you can help.
<... with what?>
Michael Dragør
<Search WWM re Invertebrate environment, losses/deaths... & algae control. Bob Fenner>
Dead hermits and shrimps
Hi again
Forgot to mention that I tested calcium to 220ppm.
<Too low... are you familiar with our site? How to use it? Please study here:

Sudden Invertebrates Dying Off?/Invertebrates Suddenly Dying Off 2/21/10
<Hi Dan>
I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank, live rock / sand, wet-dry filter with some fish, a few colonies of coral, 1 cleaner shrimp and 2 brittle stars.
Fish are all going well, as is our coral, however recently our cleaner died, and now our sea stars are very sluggish and seem general in bad health.
This was a very sudden occurrence, as the shrimp and stars where all doing very well.
My first thought was copper, as the shrimp seems to have some kind of nerve damage, so I tested ASAP and detected none. Even so I dropped a bag of Cuprisorb in the filter just in case Next tested my phosphates and nitrates, again very low (near the limit of what the kits could detect).
I've tested nitrites, ammonia, and PH, all very well.
At this point I have a Magnum 350 full of carbon on the side, in case it may help if there is some type of toxin in the water.
I don't want to do a water change, in case that is the source. Although we do have softener, UV, and DI units for our well source.
Don't really know what else to do, can't find any problem via test kits, any ideas?
<I'd start with running the Magnum and feeding the invertebrates. Cleaner shrimp will not get enough nourishment by cleaning fish in a small closed system, and it is unlikely the brittle stars will find enough food to survive as well. Supplemental feeding is necessary on both counts.
Do read here and related articles/FAQ's found in the headers.
<James (Salty Dog)>

Re Sudden Invertebrates Dying Off?/Invertebrates Suddenly Dying Off 2/21/10
Thanks James,
<You're welcome.>
Sounds like your stumped as well :)
<Mmm, not yet, was my first suggestion.>
The shrimp and star's do / did receive supplemental feeding, in fact they where healthy eaters. Now they just seem "Brain dead", will not eat, and seem generally confused.
Again this is a very sudden change, and today I noticed some polup <polyp> die off.
Think my tank is going down... and I don't know why.
Been doing marine for 10 years now, and never seen anything like this.
<You very well may have a toxin in the water and running the Magnum with carbon should remove this if present. Household cleaners sprayed in the vicinity of the tank can cause problems especially with ammonia based products such as Windex.
A dying anemone, cucumber, etc can also cause reactions but all of the above would affect your fish as well and you state they are fine.>
Guess I'll go to LFS and buy there water, just in case we are the source.
<If the water from the LFS improves the situation, you may want to consider an R/O system to purify the water being used in your system. The DI filtering you mention using will only remove mineral ions which include sodium, calcium, iron, copper, etc, but the deionized water can still contain numerous impurities, bacteria, and viruses which have no charge and are not attracted to the electrified resins.
Although your UV should kill most of the above, contact time and bulb efficiency/effectiveness can have a negative impact on this.>
Thanks again
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Sudden Invertebrates Dying Off?/Invertebrates Suddenly Dying Off, Spg anomaly  2/26/10
<Hello Dan>
For the record James, in case it my helps others, I found my problem.
Turns out my trusted swing arm hydrometer has gone out of calibration.
Not sure, years ago I checked against a refract meter, and it was within 0.001. Now it's 0.008 off.
So my poor tank was at 1.014-1.016!
<And likely would affect the inverts more so than the fish. Good job!>
So if anyone else reports invertebrates acting brain dead, tell them to check salinity via LPS :)
<Mmm, maybe I should check the salinity in my bath tub:)>
Everything seems fine now, and we didn't loose anything other them the shrimp, thanks for your suggestions anyways.
<You're welcome, Dan, and thank you for updating us.>

Invertebrate Disappearances - 11/07/09
HELP! I have a 120 gallon set-up that is fish and inverts only. Recently I have had most of my inverts. suddenly disappear on me. There were no bodies and no traces. The water checked out (ammonia/ nitrites 0 nitrates .5 etc. .) and I have spent several night watches in search of the missing inverts or a cause to their disappearance to no avail. I have lost countless snails, small hermits (possibly work of my valentini puffer),
a large chocolate chip starfish, a Harlequin serpent star, a large species hermit ( I thought he may have been a cause until he vanished and they did not stop),
and most recently a red brittle star that I put in the tank Monday . My remaining inverts include a pencil urchin and a tiger serpent which have been in the tank from the start of these disappearances. The fish include:
a blue hippo tang, Sailfin tang, Indian ocean angel, Koran angel, the valentini puffer (smaller than the large hermit was), a small tomato clown, and a newly introduced starry blenny (after the disappearances). If anyone has any ideas!
<Does seem strange... the best guess... some one (a human) is stealing them>
I have been trying to restock my inverts, the new snails and little hermits seem okay but the loss of the new star fish greatly disturbs me....
I have done some research, and was wondering is it possible that my other serpent star is responsible for these disappearances ? He had caught a fairy wrasse a few years ago while it was sleeping but I started feeding him extra and had no incidences since then.... until now :.(
<There should be some evidence, body parts about, considering the wide range of organisms lost. Aquatic life can dissolve/decompose quite rapidly (a day or two in cases), but no bits at all? Strange. Generally, a system's loss of such a mix of invertebrates is directly due to some aspect of (poor) water quality. You might want to take a sample to a larger store in your area for a more thorough testing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Invertebrate Disappearances 11/8/2009
Thank-you for your reply,
<Welcome Jen>
I have been working with the local salt water dealer, they have never steered me wrong before, and brought a sample of water to be tested after I learned of the loss (I was away and my mom was caring for the tank). She did not see any pieces... does not mean they're were none, she does her best :) but I know the brittle star left no trace. I also had the water tested Monday before purchasing the brittle star and the only problem was a slight elevation in calcium ( I have been trying to regrow the coraline the urchin is eating using purple-up). As for stealing it is a home aquarium and it seems unlikely that someone would break-in to take them, and I would expect the cats to take the fish first....
<Agreed... but the animals are missing... and it is indeed odd that there is no "parts" left as evidence>
if not for they're fear of the fish tank... funny story there :). I plan to set a trap to-night and see if it sheds any light... with any luck ill find my bristle star in it ( I know its unlikely but I can hope can't I :)).
<Is this an Ophiarachna? Please see WWM re predatory Ophiuroids:
the second to last tray: Compatibility>
If the trap fails to reveal anything the pet store suggested running a trial with ghost shrimp (due to their inexpensive nature) removing the puffer first and monitoring to see if anything comes out to attack them at night, what is your opinion on this?
<Worth trying. See also our coverage on Mantis Shrimps and Pistol Shrimps.
Thanks again,

Re: Invertebrate Disappearances  11/8/09
Thank you so much for all your help, I feel kinda silly now for over reacting but while setting up the trap last night some of the food slipped out and guess what? Yep, the brittle stars arm shot out to get it :)
<Very common>
he is a Ophiocoma as far as I can distinguish, once he settles in if I can get a pic I'll send it. I am putting the loss of the other inverts up to an issue my mother was unable to detect in water quality but it seems to have
settled after the many water changes since then, which is what I was doing until I prematurely freaked out over this star fish :). I'll see how it goes for a couple weeks and look into replacing the rest of the inverts. Do
you know of anything that has a taste for red hair algae?
<... please see WWM re identification... likely Cyano/BGA...>
Everything I found only likes the green and just picks at the red as a last resort... I have fixed the cause of the out break, (old lights and high phosphate) but I'm not looking forward to scrubbing rocks.... The
light issue along with my urchin really did a number on my coralline so I'm trying to get that back to the level it was when I left.
<With time... Cheers, BobF>
Re: Invertebrate Disappearances
This is the closes pic I could find to what looks like my brittle star and a pic of the serpent star
<... I take it these were lifted, copied w/o permission of their owners.
invert. pics
Yes they are not my pics, Forgive me I only meant to use them to better give you an idea of the star fish I was dealing with.
<Ahh! Understood>
I should have given credit where it was due and will do so now, the first pic was found at http :// www . reeftopia .com/images/redbrittlestar1. JPG, and the second at http :// www . livestockusa .org/ tigerbrittle . jpg .
<Much better. Because they are neither my nor your property, best to give these addresses for others reference>
As they are not my pics I have no right to allow them to be reproduced in any manner I merely wished to give you a visual of what I was talking about. Thinking about it now it would have been best to give you the websites rather than copy the pics. I never intended to take credit for them. I will try my best to be more conscientious in the future.
<No worries Jen. B>

Possible sea cucumber problem  6/18/08 Hello, <Hello, Jack!> I've searched and searched, and cannot find any specific answers, so out of desperation I'm asking my very first question! <Sounds good. Thanks for searching!> In one of my labs, I've got a 4 month old, 75gal marine tank (w ~20gal sump) which...until this morning...held only a cleaning crew (snails, hermits, and two peppermint shrimp), live sand, live rock and gobs of green algae. I just received two "Marine Invertebrate" sets and some jellyfish from Ward's Scientific, <mm...yes> and within an hour of introducing the various species (I know, too many at a time, but it's the only tank we've got...I still need to get a quarantine tank going) BOTH peppermint shrimp were in the open, on their sides, twitching. They died about 2 hours later. http://wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_IG0013628_A_name_E_Invertebrate+Living+Specimen+Set+1 http://wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_IG0013629_A_name_E_Invertebrate+Living+Specimen+Set+2 http://wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_IG0013404_A_name_E_Jellyfish+Living+Specimen I took great care to minimize introducing very much foreign water to the tank. <Okay. How did you acclimate them? Did you slowly transition the water in the bags to system water, or did you just release these organisms into the tank? Simply dropping them in would most likely kill them promptly.> Especially, from the sea cucumber bag! I called Ward's, and they could only tell me that the genus/species was "Cucumaria". <Generic...> Nevertheless, I suspect the Cuke got freaked out in transit and spewed some toxins upon arrival. <Much more a predation response than environmental> Are there any other possible explanations, given the long list of newly introduced critters (check the ward's links, above)? <Be advised that the animals sold by Ward are not compatible with each other, and are rarely properly identified by the company. In my experience with these sets the instructions for care are poor, and the animals sick or doomed upon arrival. The jellyfish, for example, are completely unsuitable tankmates for the other offered specimens, and will require special aquaria to house them. Most of the echinoderms sold by Ward simply cannot be kept without intensive feeding and water change regimens- not what a zoology or invert. phys. class needs!> I've done a partial water change. What other precautions should I take? <I would test your water parameters and see if something is seriously out of whack, and review acclimation procedures. Perhaps consider paying a bit more for some select, research specimens from another source.> I promise, to never introduce so many animals to the tank, ever again. Thank you! <No problem.> -Jack <Benjamin>

Re: Possible sea cucumber problem - 6/18/08 Thanks for the prompt response. I've had a few hours to further research the situation, here's an update: 1. Acclimation occurred over the entire morning yesterday: a) each bag was floated for 1 hour; followed by b) adding tank water to the bag (1 pt tank : 2 pts bag volume) and another hour of floating; followed by c) emptying 1/2 of that water (into sink), topping off w tank water, and floating for another 1/2 hour; and finally d) adding critter to tank while minimizing the introduction of baggy water. Snails and hermit crab were rinsed under tapwater too. <If anything, this might have been too long, but since you had them floating temperature shouldn't have been a problem. I doubt acclimation was the problem.> 2. Nobody else was dead this morning. Yay! <Glad to hear it!> 3. I no longer attribute the shrimps' demise to the cucumber. A more likely suspect would be the jelly's. They'd shed lots of slime (nematocysts?) in transit, and 2 out of 3 had actually LOST THEIR MANUBRIA...incidentally, the injured jelly's and detached mouth-pieces are still pulsating on the tank's floor. I now hypothesize that the shrimp were knocked off by free-floating nematocysts. <Very possible! Cnidarians can shed a lot of stinging cells under stress.> 4. I consider the Cassiopeia's doomed if they remain in this tank, and a hazard to whatever strolls past them. <Both correct.> I'm setting up a temporary 10gal w/ steep live sand "banks" on either end, and setting up a weak submersible filter on the bottom to create a pseudo-circular, vertical current. I've got some high-power full-spectrum fluorescents (used on lizards) I can put on a timer, too. Meanwhile, I'll see if anyone around here wants em (LFS, Bio dept, aquarium...) and, worse case scenario, I'll preserve them for our teaching collection (I waste NOTHING around here!). <Sounds like a good plan.> 5. More research has me concerned about the Featherdusters and predation from: red and blue-legged hermits, brittle star, and the urchin. Real, or paranoia? Time will tell... <There is certainly risk, but they should be fine. Hermit crabs will eat just about anything, given the chance, but as long as there is easier food to be found, they probably won't be going after something the have to catch.> The determining factors in choosing Ward's over the LFS: very good prices (surprising, actually), guaranteed delivery, a 20% off coupon and an established tax-exempt account. <Understood.> The lack of documentation was acceptable, since I'm quite capable of researching various problems, <Clearly. You definitely did your homework before you wrote this reply!> but I'm ashamed to have assumed that their sets were compatible...and to have created this Darwinian situation. <Selective pressure notwithstanding, compatibility and mortality are perpetual problems in aquaria. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over your assumption- it is reasonable to expect that sets of specimens from a reputable supply company would be compatible...that said, often time accuracy is sacrificed to Mammon in this hobby.> I should have known better, given that they included Aiptasia anemones in one set! <Probably helps keep the price down...and, given they aren't overfed they can be fascinating. You might be interested in information re aiptasia culturing/filtering...use of aiptasia to clean water.> Best regards, -Jack <The same! Benjamin>

Invert Deaths.... need more info   2/11/07 Good Afternoon, I suspect that you are not going to like some aspects of my system but I am hoping that you may see something I don't. I have a death issue. I have had a red crab, emerald crab, peppermint shrimp, camel back shrimp, sally lightfoot crab, and Hawaiian pom-pom crab die over the past 5 months for no reason.  Usually little bits of them are floating at the top of the tank one random morning, but never the next day. I have a 55 gallon tank with a yellow tang, coral beauty, flame angel, fire fish goby, percula clown, yellow headed watchman goby, scooter blenny, and mandarin goby (unrelated issue: not doing so well - I didn't read your article first). There are a few polyps and a few mushrooms, lots of snails, pods, various worms, etc. The tank also has about 60 lbs of live rock. Filtration: Magnum 350, Skilter 250, and an Aquaclear 30/60. Lighting: 110w high output compact and 80w fluorescent blue actinic.   A handful of peppermint shrimp, small hermit crabs, and one large cleaner shrimp are apparently doing pretty well, because every so often I have a tank full of larvae-looking things, not sure who from but they look different every time. Water parameters are all normal. I thought I might have had a mantis, but haven't seen anything, and the snails and hermits are doing fine.  Of all the fish, I suspect the yellow tang, but everyone at the LFS's scoff at the very suggestion. I bought a coral banded shrimp last night, in the hopes that a more robust crustacean would "make it" vs. whatever is doing them in. So far so good. Any thoughts? <Before I "hypothesize" would you mid re-sending this email along with tank parameters? Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia....etc.? I also did not see the tank size...water change regime....more info please?> Thanks for your time, you guys have a great website, it has prevented me from making many mistakes. Marshall <Adam J.>

Unhappy inverts & spelling, punctuation... 1/23/07 Hey guys. <Hi Glen.> What an incredible repository.  <Quite.> Hopefully you can answer my questions and save my inverts any more grief than they need. <Let's see, shall we?> I have had 3 snails<,> 2 hermits and a<n> emerald crab living in my tank for about 3 weeks now. I cycled my tank for a month and in the last week of the cycle <I> added the inverts. <I> have been running for a month and a half. <Like in that movie? Did you go from one ocean to another and back? ;) > In the last week my inverts have been acting weird. My hermits are hiding in their shells a lot and not moving much. <Not a good sign, as you guessed. Usually indicates poor water chemistry.> My snails don't move much. <Sometimes you just think so, as they can find the same spot they sat on the day before.> Today I came home and for the first time in a long time they are all on the glass. one is right on the water line. <O>ne somehow crawled up onto the out end of the remora HOB skimmer. So why would my snails be running from the water Aloand <aloand?> the hermits hiding? <Snails are wanderers by nature. That's one reason we have to go to lengths to keep them grounded in the system to avoid clogging key components. AS stated before, hermits and most other inverts for that matter, are more sensitive to poor water conditions and show it. Recommend some testing here.> Here's the thing that I suspect is the problem. So top off for the longer time <I> was being super careful. I preheated my top off water to the same temperature then started a siphon and added it. (generally <I> am adding about a gallon of top off a day) Now as most of you know this is tedious. <But necessary...> So in the last week <I> haven<'>t been preheating the water and <I> made 5 gallons (<I> have a<n> ro/di unit) and have been scooping a gallon out of that for the last week and adding it. I quit being careful about the pouring and <I> have not been heating the water. <I> just checked the water temperature of the top off <and> it<'>s 68 deg and the tank I have been keeping at 77. <Doesn't sound like a stable temperature to me, but I don't know how big the system is, thus I can't say how dramatically that would be felt by livestock...> Other things that have been different I have not been able to get home at night to turn off the daylights an hour or so before the antics. <Not sure what you mean by that...> So here's my test numbers: PH 8.2 Ammonia 0 Phosphates 0 Nitrates 0 Calcium 400 <Salinity? Temperature fluctuation? (Not as important for the snails) > <A>ll tests are <A>quarium <P>harmaceuticals except for calcium<,which is> [that's] <R>ed <S>ea So how do I bring my snails back from the brink? <You don't mention whether you have LS and/or LR or what species of snail you have...> Oh and that's all I have in my 55 <Ahh, there's the tank size...> and the algae is starting to get out of control. <Is it possible you are dealing with a type of algae the snails don't eat? For example: Cyanobacteria, Snot algae... others.> I thought it was good for a while but its been getting worse (partially because the snails haven't seemed to been eating) Thanks as always guys. It really has been twisting me in knots because <I'>m wor<r>ied <that> my mom is going to be right<:> that <I> am going to lose to the algae and nature. <Hope is not lost Glen. I would turn to the information source you have at your disposal here at WWM. It sounds like you have a *LOT* of reading to do. Information is the best fix for any potential problems. I might add that replying to your message took me TWENTY MINUTES longer than it should have as I corrected most of the grammatical, spelling, punctuation errors. Please understand if my response is terse in kind. -GrahamT.> Glen McKnight. How long do you quarantine Invertebrates? 1/21/07 <Hi, Tony.> I have 9 Hermit Crabs, 5 snails, one Chocolate Chip Star fish, and a cleaner shrimp and I have them in a quarantine tank.  I had an outbreak of ich in my old tank and it eventually crashed. So I was wondering how long I need to quarantine them for before I move them to my new tank. < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinvertfaqs.htm If the tank has been fallow for 6-8wks, then it is considered safe. If they were in the system that crashed, then you may as well consider them carriers unless it has been a while after the crash.> Thanks, Tony P. <-Graham T.>

Invertebrates ... env. prob./s   1/21/07 Hello my friends! I am having a very difficult time with invertebrates.  I have a 75 gal tank, 25 gal sump refugium with 70+ lbs of live rock.  It has been cycling for a few months and my fish are doing fine (2 Clarki and 1 hippo tang) I have also had a brown algae (diatoms?) bloom and a smaller green algae bloom which have cleared up very nice.  I have 2 MH and 4 t5 (2 white 2 blue) for lighting. 3.5 in sand bed.  All of my water tests have been great, salinity 1.022, <Too low... "invertebrates" by and large are sensitive to disparate or changing spg> 8.1PH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 20 ppm nitrates, <Borderline high...> 0 copper, this was also confirmed by 2 LFS.  Every-time I introduce snails or an anemone (with 2hr drip) they die in a day or 2 and decompose. <"Something" else amiss here then... such rapid losses... lead me to believe another metal contamination is at play here...>   I wait until I know they are dead for sure and not just   in shock.  My fans and worms on liverock died also.  I have also noticed a death of some kind of worm on the sand bed.    I have used RO water for the aquarium and my LFS suggested a 20 percent water change with conditioned tap. <A good suggestion> I have since done that and waited a week to introduce more snails.  The snails have since  met their maker.  I have tried many different snails all with the same outcome.  My LFS has no idea what could be causing this? <Another more specific chemistry anomaly could be either deficient alkalinity (which the tap and synthetic salt mix aren't providing) or an outright imbalance of Magnesium (needs to be about 3X the concentration of Ca...)> The only answer they will give me now is they must be starving and it was a  bit offending. <Starving? No...> Any suggestions would be great!  I do not want to be   known as the notorious invert killer!  Thanks! Shayne <Read on my friend... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/snaildisfaqs.htm and the linked files embedded, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Water... perennial loss of marine invert.s 12/26/05 Hello.  Pretty much every invertebrate that I add to my saltwater tank dies within a month, without fail, snails, shrimp, hermit crabs etc, and is probably due in part to high copper content of the local tapwater.  Is distilled water a suitable alternative lieu of a RO/di filter which I cannot afford, or should I just continue to use tapwater treated with Prime or some other such product? <I'd just go with distilled.  James (Salty Dog)> <<... I definitely would not use distilled... too expensive... Do have your source water checked and save up for an RO device, take the time to read over WWM re invert. systems, care. RMF>> Problems after salinity increase 3/6/05 I recently raised my salt level (it was pretty low). In the last two days I noticed one of my emerald crabs dead, my xenia has shrunk and my brittle star has lost an arm and had some white spots on him. Should I wait, do a water change or other? Thanks, John  <Salinity changes are very hard on inverts, and what you are describing is probably due to this change. I would suggest increases of no more than 0.003 (1.017-1.020 for example) in any one day and giving the animals a couple of days to acclimate. If you have been more aggressive than this, I would just give everything a few days to acclimate (trying to drop the salinity back down will just add to the stress). Also, I would strongly suggest checking your salinity measuring device against another aquarists, a local fish store or a refractometer. "Swing arm" style devices are notoriously inaccurate. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Inverts dying Hey Blundell, < Hey Martin. > I'm in a bit of quandary here.  I've finished setting up my 137 gallon AGA. I've been cycling the water for more than a month after mixing it directly in the tank.  All the live rock was cured in the tank. I've got two skimmers running.  The current tank parameters are 82.6 temp, 8.23 PH and 310 ORP.  The calcium is a bit low (under 300) but I will add a Kalkwasser reactor soon.  Three weeks ago I put in a blue damsel just to see how the water was and it has been doing fine.  I added a medium sized clown and a small clown fish a week later and all the inhabitants are thriving.  I tried adding an anemone last week which was very well established in my dealers tank and it promptly died the following day. < The following day!?  Wow that is odd, and reason to be concerned. >  This weekend thinking that was just a fluke, I put a large pizza anemone in and a small white anemone. Both died almost immediately.  In addition, I had a small pizza anemone that had been my 30 gallon tank for over two months and when I moved in to my big tank, it promptly died as well.  My question is why would the three fish that I put in plus a coral banded shrimp and anemone shrimp all be thriving while the four anemones I put in have all died just hours after I put them in?  < Right off I'm guessing metal poisoning.  Something like copper in the water.  I would either do some serious tests, or as bad as this sounds, I'd consider taking down the tank and starting over.  Please check biological filtration and make sure you don't have some very high nitrates or ammonia. > Am I missing something here? < Certainly, but I'm not sure what. > Thanks! Martin <  Blundell  > Invertebrate deaths 16 Aug 2004 Hi Bob, <Hey Jay, MacL here with you today. Puzzling over your email.> I would be extremely appreciative if you could help me with a problem I am having with my tank, I cannot seem to keep stuff alive. In my tank right now I have a clownfish and about 15 small hermit crabs who are all doing ok. Whenever I get snails they die right away, I always get turbo snails and they die quick. <Do you check your levels? With a snail death I'd be interested in your ph, your salinity, and your nitrates.> I also tried to put some peppermint shrimp in my tank and they were upside down dead within an hour. I have a 29 gallon tank with a lot of live rock and a Jebo 180 protein skimmer. I have also tried to keep anemones and they die right away also, <Same question.  All of those things I mentioned could have a detrimental effect on anemones, snails, and shrimp. There's a possibility it could be iodine levels out of whack as well? Do you add iodine? If it weren't for the crabs staying alive I would ask you if the tank had ever held copper of any kind?> which puzzles me because the crabs and clown fish live ok. can you offer me any answers or advice, thanks again sir. jay <Jay did you buy the tank new? There's no chance it did have copper? If not its very possibly your ph. Do you have a test kit or can you take it by a pet store and have them run the ENTIRE battery of tests on it? Don't worry we will figure out this puzzle together. MacL> - Snail & Brittle Star Problems - Hey guys, I read through a few pages of notes on your sight, found a few answers but not fully satisfied with what I could find so I am pestering you for more if you have time. All of my turban snails are upside down... I have turned them over but later on are upside down again. <I'm guessing they are falling off the glass.> I noticed my brittle stars are acting very odd as well. 2 are dead or at least in a coma of sorts. <Not sure what that means.> One zoanthids covered rock has been closed up for about week or so, but other zoanthids are open and fine. Feather dusters fish and Porites are fine too. I tested water as per sight recommendations and seems my ph is freaky high( or maybe I am over reacting) it is in the 8.2 to 9.0 range!!! <That's a pretty broad range... can you get a more specific number? If the pH is actually as high as 9.0, then that is likely your problem.> (10 gal mini reef.. weekly water changes and carbon change as well. Ro water is used, mixed with instant ocean salt a few days before and circulated. I had buffered with baking soda for a few water changes and am suspecting that is the problem. If I do a 50% water change without the baking soda will this bring down the ph? <Depends on the pH of the water going in, but would caution you against making too drastic of a change in a tank of this size... try not to move the pH more than one tenth of a point in either direction in a 24 hour period.> I am heading back into the notes in your sight after this but wanted to ask this now in case I don't find all the info I need.  Thanks for the ear to bend and the reply.  Pete PS: SURF is UP on the Kona coast!!!! woohoo.. monsters are rolling in!!! <Is what I've heard - Bob Fenner is there now, moaning about not being able to go diving. Enjoy. Cheers, J -- >

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